Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Effective Partnering for New Models of Care

October 24, 2016

My previous two blogs have focussed on the way in which digital technology can better support operational excellence and clinical service delivery in health and care establishments. The third priority bucket to be discussed is Effective Partnering – assessing how digital technology can underpin efforts to improve the care continuum.

Partnering has always been essential in the delivery of health and care, but now more than ever connectivity between NHS organisations, or with other agencies, is increasingly important. For example, Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are laying the foundations for the way in which local and regional services will be delivered in years to come. These plans are highly dependent on effective partnering between NHS organisations and other agencies, and digital technology must be at the very centre of that planning.

Interoperability has been at the forefront of most provider organisations in the last couple of years. Whilst the ability to at least exchange, if not integrate information is essential, there are four other areas that should also be carefully considered as business enablers for effective partnering:

  • Collaboration – With no mandate to follow, NHS organisations and their partners have invested in a variety of underlying solutions for simple voice communications. How can these solutions be integrated, and furthermore how can added value services such as video, messaging and collaboration be provided? The benefits to be gleaned include not only the partnering capability, but location independence for all health and care staff.
  • Mobility – How can reciprocal access be provided between health and care organisations. Further to this how might this support multi-tenanted buildings acting as community hubs across a region, providing agile working solutions and location independence?
  • Security – Beyond information sharing agreements, consideration should be given to the increasing fluidity of the organisational perimeter and other vectors. It is no longer adequate to consider just the desktop and perimeter. Security should be considered systematically, providing the foundation that ensures business continuity.
  • Consumption Models – Consider how economies of scale may be created by sharing infrastructure and services, including Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Once understood, consider how the services will be delivered, either locally, through a third party provider, or combination thereof.

If we are to bring health and care organisations together so that pathways are consistent and well defined along the whole care continuum, it is essential that these areas are addressed. As such, they should be key components of the digitisation strategy within STPs and associated Local Digital Roadmaps (LDRs).

These considerations and others are discussed in our ‘Whole System Approach’ model which covers both partnering and the delivery of new models of care. The model can be found in our blueprint ‘Digital Strategy for Connected Health and Care’ on the Cisco UK Health and Care website.

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